Rim of the World (2019)

I’d love to know what the thought process was behind “Rim of the World.” Directed by McG, it’s much too crude and violent for kids, but much too juvenile for anyone looking for a good action horror movie. Netflix and McG obviously had in mind the “Stranger Things” crowd when they concocted this unpleasant, long, obnoxious film. It wants to be mentioned in the same conversation as “The Goonies”, Amblin, and “It,” but I doubt in a few years it’ll even be mentioned in the same favor as “Mac and Me.”

“Rim of the World” adventure summer camp has barely begun when aliens suddenly invade the planet, causing a mass evacuation worldwide. In a camp ground once teeming with people and counselors, four diverse misfit teens Alex, ZhenZhen, Dariush, and Gabriel are unexpectedly entrusted with a top secret maguffin—er—key that carries the secret to stopping the invasion. Without any adults or electronics to help guide the way, they must band together, conquer their fears, and save the world before all humanity is decimated. “Rim of the World” is a grating, painfully awful movie that seems to work against everything that makes movies of this ilk so entertaining. Whatever McG and writer Zack Stentz had in mind, they probably should have re-thought about ninety five percent of what unfolds here.

Deep down “Rim of the World” is a fantastic idea with potential to be a wonderful genre amalgam and coming of age movie. With a lot of polish and much better writing, it could have been a classic under our noses. But McG aims for classic Amblin with all the gaudiness and obnoxiousness of Michael Bay’s “Transformers.” There isn’t a single relatable character in the bunch, and writer Stentz seems to be working with a more diverse roster of heroes for the sake of appealing to a broader audience, and not more genuine storytelling means. Out of all of the four characters, the only one who isn’t a racial stereotype is the only Caucasian, Alex. The supporting heroes are three vague racial stereotypes masquerading as characters, and they never once break out of their pigeonholes.

Everything from the set up to the execution is god awful and “Rim of the World” wastes every single opportunity to be a charming adventure where kids form some sense of realization independent of technology. There’s startling violence and an inherently mean spirit including random characters violently offed by monsters and ridiculous segues. There’s even embarrassing blatant product placement disguised as a montage as the kids wearing nothing but Adidas gear, dance joyously in an abandoned mall. Speaking of awkward, along with the weird oral fixation, there’s also a (way too long) scene of the trio of prepubescent boys arguing over who gets to sleep with ZhenZhen in the same bed, and debating about the potential for sex with her. “Rim of the World” is a complete waste of time and mental energy. It has all the chance to rise to the occasion, but I spent more time flexing the forward button and racing to the merciful end.

Now Streaming on Netflix.